Ask the Right Questions

Financial, Legal, and General Planning

  • Have I spoken to the people who love and care about me regarding how I want my life to unfold if/when I need help with everyday living activities?
  • Are there others besides family that will be part of my support team needed for my advanced age or disability?
  • Have I talked with my family or support team to determine the amount and type of support they are willing to provide?
  • What other resources will they require to take care of my needs?
  • Where do I turn if I cannot keep up with health care costs?
  • How do I pay for housing and other basic needs on a fixed income or when I run out of savings?
  • Do I have enough insurance?
    What is a reverse mortgage and is it right for me?
  • What should I consider about substitute decision making and when should I make these plans? Before I retire? Before I become incapacitated?
  • Have I talked with my support team about decisions addressed in a living will?
  • Who can help me with legal concerns?
  • What should I consider when hiring a lawyer?
  • Should I establish special needs trusts and other trusts for family members in my will?
  • Have I made funeral plans?

Types of Long-term Care Services and Supports

  • Is my community a good fit for my needs?
  • How can I change my home so it is easier for me or my loved one to get around?
  • Have I thought about my preferences for a living situation if/when I can’t live independently?
  • What are housing alternatives and who pays for them?
  • What do I know about In-Home Supportive Services? Adult Day Care? Care Management? Residential Care Facilities? Skilled Nursing Facilities?

Healthier Living

  • Am I living a healthy life and making healthy lifestyle choices?
  • Do I know and follow the advice of my support team and health care providers?
  • Do I exercise, do strength training, and stretch on a daily basis?
  • If not, what prevents me from doing this?

Emotional Well-Being

  • Do I regularly interact with my support circle of family and friends?
  • How do I make the best of retirement and really enjoy the best years of my life?
  • How can I make sure I don’t become isolated and depressed?

Civic Engagement

  • How can I get involved and “give back” to my community?
  • Have I thought of a part-time job after retirement?
  • Have I thought of volunteer work?
  • How will I know I make a difference every day?


  • Who will I help provide care for?
  • Who will help me?
  • If someone is helping me, who will support them when I cannot?

Resource Finding

  • Do I know where to turn when I need help, say, with a ride to my doctor or the bank?
  • Do I know where to call and what help/services to ask for?
  • What if my mom in San Diego (or anywhere else in the U.S.) needs services and I am in San Antonio?

*These questions have been adapted from Iowa’s Aging and Disability Resource Center at